We had a fish fry of sorts at my house Sunday night.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the kind that involved having friends over, cracking open a few cold beverages and just hanging out. No, it was very different.
See on Friday I bought two goldfish for my kids. Including the bowl, food, chemicals to treat the water and the fish, this was about a $15 investment.
Not bad I thought. The kids were thrilled and the cats were fascinated. Then it got ugly. When my back was turned one of the boys dumped entirely too much fish food into the bowl turning the water the color of mud. After I cleaned that out, everybody was dared to go within five feet of the bowl.
The next morning we woke up only to find- you guessed it- one of the goldfish floating on its side, eyes stuck open and glazed over. Next came the cries and cross allegations between my kids as to who “killed the fish.” The cavalry, also known as “Me Maw,” came to the rescue explaining that sometimes goldfish just don’t live very long.
That seemed to do the trick and off they went to other things. Then Sunday afternoon rolled around and the same thing happened with the food and remaining fish.
This time I put the remaining fish in a Mason jar and cleaned out the bowl with hot water. I then carefully measured out six drops of the chemical to treat the water, put it and fresh water back in the bowl. By this time, I am feeling like an old pro at this fish thing.
Around 30 minutes later I go back to put the fish in its bowl. Sounds simple enough. But in I will tell you that in all my years growing up on a farm, I was not ready for what happened next. As the fish went back in the bowl that thing jerked like an electrical current had run through its half-inch body. It then flipped over on its back and back over on its stomach in somersault fashion.
I promise you I saw the thing scream at one point.
Then it stopped.
I stood there trying to figure out what had just happened. Then I noticed that glazed over look in its eyes. Next, I touched the sides of the bowl and realized the bowl was still hot and I had scalded that fish to death. Guilt washed over me, though not as hot as the water that just went over that fish.
Very quickly that fish joined the other one in the place all fish go where they die.
Perhaps one day, the kids will be able to see the dark humor that their mother, who is not much of a cook, fried the fish. When that day comes maybe I will I share it with them- maybe. But until then, they can just go on believing goldfish have a very limited lifespan- especially at our house.